A fool by any other name, is still a fool
It seems strange that barely six months ago the nation enjoyed the spectacle of the Superbowl . witnessing history being made as the New England Patriots triumphed in a thrilling game defeating the Seattle Seahawks , with the franchise winning their fourth Superbowl title. Superbowl MVP and quarterback Tom Brady added to his already growing legacy, but it has since been tarnished with the revelations that the player was embroiled in the Deflate-Gate scandal. As to what this now means for Brady, can be best judged by what his detractors and supporters have continue to say concerning the player’s actions. Further exacerbating the matter is the very fact, Roger Goodell believes he can be the sole arbiter in deciding the fate of Tom Brady. The player will likely challenge any punishment meted out by a hearing, by quite possibly seeking a challenge within the Judicial System , though as of now it would appear, that until a hearing date has been set by the league, this whole chapter will become one of sheer conjecture and speculation.
For the New England Patriots, this NFL franchise might now be the most despised in the NFL if not in the entire world of professional sports , perhaps even more hated than either baseball’s New York Yankees and dare I say it , even the Dallas Cowboys, whose owner Jerry Jones might still be the most disliked owner in all of professional sports ?
During the off-season, Bill Belichick and Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft have not seen fit to make too many public statements concerning the allegations made against the franchise’s most popular player in its history.
Tom Brady’s resume’ speaks for itself , but history is now likely to judge him , not just barely on his Superbowl exploits, but also the allegations now encapsulating this latest chapter in New England Patriots’ history. With two such staggering chapters now on appearance viewed as sordid , I can’t help but wonder why the NFL itself continues to act as if the actions of the Patriots have only ever been committed by one franchise in the league’s history .
Sean Payton and Micky Loomis of the New Orleans Saints were in some respects the architects of Bounty-Gate , another sordid chapter of NFL history where Roger Goodell once again continued to show his incompetency. Another of the accomplices in the scandal Greg Williams now an assistant coach with the St Louis Rams , might well have been made a scapegoat in the whole sordid affair, but in reality , the league itself has continued to act as if it is without reproach and still has a great deal of integrity. The players continue to lack any type of character , much less their willingness to adhere to the league’s own rules concerning its drug or conduct policy.
Having won their fourth Superbowl title in the past fifteen years to go along with seven appearances in the NFL’s showcase event. Four victories and now the infamy of having the Patriots’ name now tarnished. Robert Kraft has continued to try and deflect attention away from the franchise but his greatest problem and advantage might well be Roger Goodell. Kraft was implemental in Goodell succeeding Paul Tagliabue as the current NFL Commissioner. For anyone, who believes the commissioner can be impartial in any type arbitrary procedure involving the NFL has to be viewed as a farce.
Tom Brady for his part, during this whole process will likely spend a great deal of his off-time getting in sync, albeit , we are not yet aware as to form of punishment is likely to be meted out against the player by the league. All signs seem to be pointing to the fact Brady will likely face a suspension of no more than four games , as there seems to be no precedent , where the hierarchy can actually suspend the Patriots’ quarterback for anything more than four games , comparative in nature for a first time offender for transgressing the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Should that be the case, I believe Brady will seek the turnover of the ruling either in Federal District Court or by way of a tribunal overseen by the league, with Brady likely to be represented by a high-profiled lawyer as part of his due process and representation.
New England will be looking to make a successful defense of not only their Superbowl title but also the AFC East division, which they won with a great deal of ease last season. Considered to be their biggest rival this season will be the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills , but there is the belief the New York Jets might be able to mount a serious challenge if Geno Smith can find some semblance of consistency to his all-round game. From my own standpoint, I believe Smith to be the worst quarterbacks drafted in the NFL over the past six years with the exception of Tim Tebow , Johnny Manziel and Brandon Weeden ! So make of it what you will at this juncture.
The personification of what has made the Patriots a constant success over the past twelve years has been franchise’s drafting of players , who over time have proven to be productive as well as perennial Pro Bowl mainstays. Granted, the organization has also profited from the acquisition of established players who have fit the mold of an amenable addition to the franchise. The likes of Wes Welker , Randy Moss and Corey Dillon immediately comes to mind and their success with the Patriots has been well-chronicled over the course of New England’s history in the NFL .
As they say , all good things must come to an end and inquiring minds have to be wondering , how long before Tom Brady decides to hang up his cleats ? Granted, there have been several players down the years on the Patriots’ roster who had the chance to supplant the incumbent quarterback in the starting role and Jimmy Garopolo would appear to be no different. He had his baptism of fire in the league with some mop up duty and during the preseason of the year he was drafted by the Patriots. This is unlikely to be the year where his role will be increased or his becoming the full-time starting quarterback for the team. Yet there is now the growing belief he is the heir-apparent to his mentor , Tom Brady. Quarterbacks’ coach and the team’s offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels certainly believes that to be the case and I believe during the preseason Garopolo will certainly see some playing time.
If Brady’s suspension comes into play at the beginning of the regular season with the appeal’s process not yet underway, then there is every reason to believe Jimmy Garopolo could very well start his first regular season game in the presumed role of an NFL starting quarterback.
Time waits for no man and in the NFL once it is believed you are no longer of use to a team, you’re normally sent packing . So it was for several members of the Patriots’ roster from last season with the departure of long-time defensive stalwart Vince Wilfork . The eleven-year veteran signed a two-year deal with the Houston Texans during the off-season and will likely bring some leadership to roster sorely lacking leadership , even with the presence of JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney , said to be lynch pins on an underachieving secondary. It will be very interesting to see what role Wilfork will play on this Texans’ team and how they will fare over the course of the season.
In week fifteen Vince Wilfork will be provided with the opportunity to reacquaint himself with his former teammates when the Texans play host to the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium , in Houston, Texas. For Bill O’Brien it will also be a re-acquaintance of sorts as he was also once a member of the Patriots’ coaching staff under Bill Belichick .
While I believe the New England Patriots are capable of winning the AFC East with ease. A successful defense of the Lombardi Trophy will prove to be difficult and the chances of winning back-to-back Superbowls is extremely tough , with it having been achieved, becoming something of a rarity . Granted , the last such franchise to do so, were the Patriots, but the feat was accomplished over a decade ago. No one has come close to doing so , until the squandered chances of the Seattle Seahawks were seen last season, along with the heroics of Patriots’ defensive player Malcolm Butler , whose timely interception in the waning moments of the game sealed the Seahawks’ fate and led many of us to ask, what the hell was Pete Carroll thinking ?
I believe this upcoming season, the toughest challenges to be faced by the New England Patriots will not come from either of their schedules , but, it will be predicated upon the amount of complacency shown. Too much , with the disdain for an opponent, can and will lead to their demise. One expects there to be a little arrogance and swagger to be involved , after-all, they are the reigning Superbowl champions and with it comes detail of their being viewed as the target with a very large bulls’ eye on their back . with everyone seeing to take aim and hit the target dead center. How the Patriots intend to deal with it all , could mean the difference between success and failure.
Last season for the New England Patriots, I believe the six best players on the roster in no discerning order were , LeGarrett Blount, Julian Edelman , Rob Gronkowski , Devin McCourty, Chandler Jones and Tom Brady. And granted , it was a collective effort during the regular and postseason that ultimately led to their success along Bill Belichick’s coaching acumen. Yet there can be no denying , whatever the thoughts might be how the franchise achieved its place in history , the roller coaster ride the fans were led on was simply amazing.
One might continue with the allegations of “ cheating “ , but the Patriots are not the only team in the NFL willing to bend the rules for their own means. It is not as if the NFL itself has been built on a solid foundation of honesty and integrity to begin with. One simply has to look at the repeated examples of cheating . dishonesty and utter disdain shown for the fans , not just by the league hierarchy , but also by the owners and the NFLPA (union). So for all of the whining and moronic idiots who take issue with the New England Patriots , have the balls also to point an accusing finger at the entire NFL also , rather than showing yourself to be a complete as#hole time and time again .
Tom Brady still has his legion of fans, but in light of this latest scandal , there has been a groundswell of criticism for the former League MVP and Superbowl winner . His once pristine image is not necessary in tatters , but the chinks in his armor have seen large dents and rust begin to show. Helped on by his innocuous and orchestrated interview with Jim Gray, the player failed to answer any of the allegations against him , simply showing his arrogance and deflecting the whole subject matter of the AFC championship game and the events surrounding it as a non-issue. Is anyone really surprised by that at all ?
Among today’s active quarterbacks Tom Brady’s record is one of the best , regular season and postseason wins, percentage wise in both categories. He may no longer be held with the same esteem as his greatest adversary Peyton Manning , but there the comparisons must now end. Manning still has a glowing reputation , pristine image , loved by fans, consumers and major corporate sponsors alike. Both players have held sway in the NFL for over ten years apiece , each having won the highest awards the game has to offer. Now comes the question , how will history seek to treat the legacies of both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning ? I will leave it for you all to now decide , with the caveat being , controversy and there being a villain to hate , makes for a far more interesting drama and that is what the NFL has now actually become . Less about the competitive spectacle on the field of play , but now more to do with the players’ and hierarchy’s antics off it.
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